Cincinnati Reds get creative with small payroll

Joshua Lobdell - Author

Jun. 15 2013, Updated 9:32 p.m. ET

The Cincinnati Reds are the very definition of a small market team. They have attendance problems, as they lose less people come out to the ballpark. In 2009 1.7 million fans came out to see the Reds, down from 2 million in 2008. SO they have to set hard limits on their payroll. The current payroll number is right around 73 million dollars, and that doesn’t look likely to change.

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While other teams are out trying to land high priced free agents, Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty is finding creative ways to free up some payroll space.To that end he renegotiated the contract for 3B Scott Rolen. Rolen was due to make 11 million dollars in 2010, but not will get just 6. The 5 million balance will be paid off as a signing bonus. Now while he freed up so money in the deal, the Reds will not be active players on the free agent market. Instead the will use the savings to keep their high priced players from being poached by big market clubs.

The Reds currently have 59.75 million locked up in nine players; Aaron Harang (12.5 million), Francisco Cordero (12 million), Bronson Arroyo (11 million), Brandon Phillips (6.75 million), Rolen (6 million), Willy Taveras (4 million), Ramon Hernandez (3 million), mike Lincoln (3 million), and Arthur Rhodes (2.5 million. The problem the Reds have is both relief pitchers Nick Masset and Jared Burton are both Arbitration eligible and due for big raises.

That means the Reds have to find a dollar and save a dollar just to keep the players they got. If they can find a few more dollars here and there they may be able to pick up a few after the New Year’s deals as more than 100 free agents remained unsigned.


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